Mk II Electrolysis Tank setup

Well, in hopes that spring will EVENTUALLY arrive here, LTGal and I embarked upon the first stages of developing the Mark II Electrolysis tank… Which were to secure a more suitable, well, tank! So, off to Canadian tire we went, this morning!

(Who are we kidding?!? We were trying to escape cabin fever!)

So, while we WERE intending just to go and take measurements of the different plastic bins that were available there, we happened across THIS in the clearance aisle!

And not only was it on sale, it was made of relatively substantial plastic AND (according to an unnamed source) already an icky colour so we didn’t have to worry about it getting even ickier! 

It’s both longer and wider than the Mark I tank, but shorter. However, its only about an inch and a half shorter…

and since the Mark I tank had the electrodes bolted through the plastic I was losing the top 2-3 inches of the tank anyway unless I wanted to have the electrodes totally submerged… which made them icky! So, plan THIS time is to come up with some way, NOT involving welding, to create electrode holders that can dangle over the edges of the tank…. Some bolts, nuts and spacers will likely be in order. The advantage of this approach, of course, is that then I can bore holes in BOTH ends of the electrodes and flip them around as one end gets used up…


Well, the Mark II is shaping up nicely…
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Last step is to bore a hole and mount a drain in it with some silicone and a chunk of cork for backing.

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This oughta do it.

Kudos to Boyd on MTF, whose adjustable shelves using threaded rod inspired me to use rod for my hangar/cathode…

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Uh oh! Little problem with Wally

Had a little problem with Wally yesterday morning…

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Was pushing snow, sitting on the nice warm cushy seat, pushed in the clutch and “SPANG!” I heard a noise even over the sound of the engine! And suddenly my clutch won’t return… And i’m down to 2 speeds… Slow and Stop!

Found the above spring lying on the ground when I came back around….

Uh oh!

Time to hit JD Parts and phone Mother Deere!

$13 bucks overnight according to Deere, then I’ll be back in business…  Guess I can’t expect a 57 year old spring to last forever!

I had the replacement spring by 9:15 this morning…

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Interesting… same PN as the original, looks like they’ve gone with a newer design. I can understand why, it makes for a more rugged hook end and less chance for metal fatigue at the very end of the coil (which is where the original one broke, and where the bulk of the stress would be I imagine).
I got out tonight after LTBabe tucked in and Kidlet #1 was doing homework, to put the new spring on.  I had been worried about how the heck to pull this massive spring back 6 inches into a confined spot, but I figured…. Just had to think smarter, not harder!

First, I thought, I’d fish a line through the back of the tractor…

Then pull a winch strap through…

and hook the winch strap up to the spring…

and just winch the spring back.

The fatal flaw in THIS plan was that the winch strap hook was too big to fit past the neutral start switch bracket and wouldn’t come far enough back or get close enough to the mount point for the hook… Okay, plan B… pull the seat, the shifter quadrant and the lights off, then run the winch strap down through the shifter hole…

then hook on to the spring and pull it back to the mount point. Unfortunately, THAT was a bad idea too, again because the hook was too big to fit horizontally out the hole past the neutral start bracket, and by the time I got it that far back there was NO way to shift the hook at all, the tension was so tight on it… So, some way to get a thinner pull on the spring…

How about doubling back with the winch strap, and

hooking the STRAP itself to the spring!

Oh my goodness did THAT ever work slickly! I was able to pull the hook RIGHT into the mounting hole, AND let the tension off the strap without destroying everything!

A perfect bullseye! And, I’m happy to report, Wally’s variator functions perfectly now! He even shifts better, I think! By the time I was done strapping everything back together, however, it was 10:30 PM, so no chance to go out and push snow tonight!

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There really are some awesome people on MTF!


That certainly got reinforced for me in a most amazing way on Tuesday!LTGal and I were sitting down over our wheaties this morning when the postman rang the bell…

We’d ordered a set of replacement cordless phone batteries from Amazon a couple weeks back, so when the postman showed up with a box, we thought

GEEZ, Amazon’s sure engaging in over-packaging for a couple small batteries… I was totally flabbergasted, when we opened the box, to see THIS:

Oh my goodness! An anonymous friend who shall remain nameless, who had obviously heard me moaning on MTF about my frozen tuckus, sent this along to me! And just in time, since more snow is falling as I type this post!

And, of course, don’t forget, the value add of the big box!

So, before darkness fell, I went out and installed it

It is AMAZING! Cushy and warm, and I particularly like the drawstring for holding it on! Works VERY well! So, even tho there wasn’t a lot of snow yet, Wally and I went for a spin… After a half an hour, I could STILL feel my tuckus! Thank you so much, anonymous friend, for saving my butt! 

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Happy happy LittleTractors!

Just had to share! The LittleTractor snow-fighting team is officially 2/3rds functional! Got Wally for pushing snow, and I FINALLY got Littletractor’s blower to work again!

I changed the blower belt early in the fall, but didn’t actually DO a runtime test on it… So first big snowstorm shows up in November, I go and flip the PTO switch and BAM! Off pops the belt! Three times I’ve tried getting it to work since November, the first two when it popped off it twisted on the drive pulley so I had to actually pull the blower and reroute the belt… I could NOT figure it out! Everything spun freely, nothing was binding, no twists in the belt (at least, not until I hit the PTO)… Finally, today I got out to the garage for a couple hours because it was above -19 c out there, I pulled the blower off, pulled off the idler and the main drive pulley so I could reroute the belt AGAIN, put everything on, hit the switch and BAM! off pops the belt… Put the belt on, checked the routing around the mule drive and the PTO, everything looked like it should… Hit the switch and BAM! off pops the belt. THIRD time I put the belt on, I figured, screw it, I’m not going to take all the time to tighten up the mule drive like I usually do (usually wind it in about an inch and a half). Instead, I only tightened it about 1/2″. Fire up Littletractor, hit the switch, and [Insert chorus of singing angels here!] it SPINS!

So the whole time since November, my problem has been that I’ve been tightening down the belt TOO MUCH! I knew my old one was stretched, because it tended to pop off a LOT, but I didn’t think it was THAT stretched! Took Littletractor out and cleaned off that patch of the neighbours’ sidewalk that I’d been avoiding because Wally’s blade gets bunged up between their hedge and the light post, and Little performed flawlessly!

 Whoo hoo!! Woot, woot! I couldn’t be happier!

Well, okay, I COULD, but what it would involve is a valve job on Bror and the attachment of a certain front-end loader to him! THEN the LittleTractor snow removal team would be complete!

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Some John Deere History

LTGal was out and about in town the other day, and snapped this pic of one of the buildings in our downtown warehouse district… This building is a warehouse that WAS until some months ago NOT accessible to the public at all, as it sat in the middle of a old rail yard… Urban renewal, the rail yard was relocated, a road was extended through the area, and suddenly this became visible… Obviously, judging by the name, this was one of the first buildings in town…

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Here’s a bit more information about what’s theoretically happening with this building… Apparently, it was gifted to the U of S by the City in 2010, with thoughts of it becoming the new U of S School of Architecture.…84f35ccbfb&p=1

As far as I know, it isn’t actually the University’s School of Architecture YET… And judging by the budget cuts our University is in the middle of, I’m suspecting that it isn’t happening….

Another picture, much earlier….

(Considering I work for the University, boy, I’d sure like to have an office there!)

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Going for a little plow!

Well, at long last, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! Went out to take my summer tires outta the car, wound up in the garage, and the call of the tractor was JUST TOO STRONG! And I even had a camera with me!

Sorry, its not very good quality… And its a bit dark out. But it was SUCH a beautiful, windless night, and only -9 C, or 15.8 on the foreignheit scale! I couldn’t resist!

Those folks who said the pan seats are actually pretty comfy are RIGHT! My butt did get a bit cold tho!

And you know, I’m not sure if I should be worried about the knock I hear. I’m at maybe 2/3 of WOT all the time I’d guess, because of the throttle linkage, and it seems fairly loud. Can’t tell if that’s the infamous “Kohler Knock” or not. Or maybe the gen belt guard vibrating… or something…

Oh, and, it seems to take a couple minutes after first starting him before I can pop Wally up beyond half-throttle. If I do so, he conks out on me, even with choke on. But then things seem to warm up and he’s fine. Is this normal? I DID do a carb readjust, maybe I’m still just wrong on that.

Did I mention how much I LOVE the hydro lift? Oh man! Maybe I can take one of my spare hydro pumps (I’ve got two spares) and have someone strap it on to Little!

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Wow! An Authentic Vintage Part!

Well, my replacement idler sheave came in today (the one to replace the one I stole off of Bror’s hydro pump mount because Wally’s had failed…). And I thought I should quickly post a couple pix of it… The first just because I’d never seen a tag like this on any JD parts before…

So THIS puppy…

is OFFICIALLY a “Vintage Part”! I asked the parts guy about that when I picked it up, because I had commented about how I didn’t understand the availability of some REALLY OLD JD parts like this… He said, well, JD’s got a great big warehouse down in Regina filled with, well, vintage parts… and when they sell out, they’re done. So, two things crossed my mind… First, wow, its a good thing for me that this part doesn’t fail too much… Second, NOW I know where I want to go to for a field trip the next time I’m in Regina!

When I mentioned that last point to the parts guy, he said, “You know, you’re the ONLY person I’ve ever sold parts for one of these old tractors to! You must have, like, one of the last ones in existence!”

I’m sorry, as nice as that feeling would be, but 

(I really ought to bring an MTF business card into this kid!)

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Got a fair bit of work done over the weekend!

Well, got a fair bit done this past weekend…

Here Wally ALMOST dressed for snow!

I DID take the time to put the PTO clutch on, just for the heck of it… I was cleaning up and found it and the belt lying in one of the bins, so I figured why not!

And I’d like to send a HUGE “Thankyou!” out to KWDAILY and Grnspt110 on MTF for their fantastic ideas last fall for putting on the wheel weights, which took it from a 45 minute job with lots of cussing and grunting to 10 minutes of easy application!

Figured I couldn’t go another winter without safety lighting so….

Then I did the chains on Wally…

I like to lay them out first to get all the crosslinks sorted out, then jack, deflate the tires a bit, then wrap, then hook, then re-inflate. I DID learn something important tonight tho…

I can’t run the 1000 watt heater, the 250 watt work light, the overheads and then run down the garage door…. Things go dark awful quick! Oh, and, I can’t run the 1000 watt heater, the 250 watt work light, the overheads, then have the compressor cut in… Strangely enough, everything goes dark THEN too!

And figured what the heck, while I’ve got the empty garage, I’ll do the summer to winter conversion for LittleTractor. I took a few minutes while rolling the blower around to check his shear bolt…

and make sure that the auger was still freed up with the bolt removed.

Looks like it. Well, then I figured I should get the tractors arranged in some way that LTGal can park in the garage, and the tractors aren’t in her way. This required some significant moving around of stuff, but here’s the “New Arrangement”!


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What have I been doing?

Well, I’m a little behind on posting tractor-y updates, so I figured I should let people know what’s been happening…

When last I posted, Bror was moving under his own power, things were looking up, I was assembling all the parts to get the engine tins back on Bror, I was looking at the top of the engine to figure out how the hydro pump would mount, when I saw THIS:

leakyheadUh oh!  So, I went for the socket wrench and started to pull the bolts off to see what was going on… The first one, immediately atop of the oil patch, came off in my fingers!  It wasn’t tight at ALL!  Uh oh.

When I pulled the head off, I found some even more scary things…

So I went back to the folks on MTF, got some information from them about checking to see if my valves leak (because I could see oil paths from the exhaust valve.  Apparently, you can tell if your valves leak by rotating your engine to TDC (Top Dead Center) so both valves are closed, then putting your air gun from your compressor into either the exhaust port or intake port with a rag to try to ensure some degree of air-tightness.  When you let loose with the air gun, if there’s bubbles, you have leaky valves… And that’s a problem.  So I tried this…


Uh oh.  And they BOTH do it.  Checked my valve clearances (where the bottom of the valve stems meet the tappets that the cam shaft pushes up) and they were alright.  So, there’s a problem with either my valve seats or the valves.  So, I broke out my valve spring compressor and pulled the valve keepers out so I could examine the seats and the undersides of the valves.  While I was doing THAT, I noticed that my exhaust valve on Bror had what I considered a LOT of side to side play. Hoo boy…

So, that was decision time… What to do?  Well, I had Wally’s engine all buttoned up by then, so I decided to change horses, (er, Deeres) midstream so to speak.

I dropped Wally’s transaxle out of him and installed the neutral start switch I’d prepared for him.  This is the safety switch that keeps you from starting your Deere if the transaxle is in gear…

With that done, I put the transaxle back IN, which is a big job, especially if you don’t get everything lined up right to hook the linkages up.

It only took me two tries to get it set up right. Dropped the wheels on…

flipped Wally around and cleaned his variator pulley up..

put new belts on him


Then went to go hook up the transaxle idler tension spring and found out that I’d messed up where I’d left the hook for it, I had to take the wheels off, drop the transaxle again, and flip the hook forward so I could connect the spring.

Finally got the engine dropped in

Took a break for Thanksgiving Long Weekend, then came back

mounted the hydraulic pump mount on top of the engine, thanks to one of the fantastic MTF members (QAFarms) for making me some spacers to replace the ones that had failed on Wally initially…

LAST weekend, LTGal let me spend a SIGNIFICANT amount of time out in the garage working on Wally, and I…


got my PointSaver installed (its a piece that replaces the old fashioned condensor in the ignition system, and provides a timing light to assist in setting up the ignition timing), added oil and was ready for an ignition test…

(This was Saturday morning at about 2 am).

Saturday afternoon I was back out working on Wally…

Later Saturday afternoon, I did a lot of adjusting, got the hydro pump mounted and hooked up and ready…

Sunday evening…

Monday evening….

Redid some of my wiring…

Dropped the hood on and took some glamour shots!



Next step… Snow blade, weights, chains!

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Generator rebuild kits arrived!

Whoo hoo! Got a pressie in the mail today!  My generator rebuild kits!

So, one of two things I need to have to get things squared away for Bror! I REALLY wasn’t expecting it THIS soon,because it took from the 24th to yesterday to get from Mercersburg Pennsylvania to Montreal (about 600 miles)… So I was figuring another few days from Montreal to here… Nope, got into Montreal yesterday at about 1:30 pm, and was delivered to my door by 12:36 today (nearly 1900 miles!)… That’s a pretty impressive increase in speed once across the border!   Approximately 3.5 miles an hour on the US side, versus approximately 85 miles an hour on the Canadian side!

However, now things have to slow down again, as its “Meet the Teacher” night for LTBabe… no time for tractors tonight!

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